Greg Armstrong is probably most commonly known in Wilson County for his extreme running, but he’s also an accomplished volunteer.
Each year, the organization he founded, Run4Water, sponsors a 24-hour run that serves as a qualifier for the U.S. National 24-Hour Running Team.
Armstrong is a science teacher at Friendship Christian School, but two years ago he qualified for the U.S. National 24 Hour Running Team and represented the United States on the world stage in Italy. His mission with putting together the qualifying event in Lebanon was two-fold.
The event helped raise awareness for the nonprofit Run4Water that helps provide clean drinking water to people around the world and in America.
“I wanted to put together an event to give our runners the best opportunity to qualify and help get the best athletes to represent the U.S.,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said there’s a child that dies every 20 seconds because of a preventable water-related illness. The Run4Water organization helps in Africa by building wells and also closer to home in Appalachia.
“A lot of people find it hard to believe that three hours from where we’re standing right now there’s children drinking from contaminated wells, creeks, so we install sterilization systems,” Armstrong said.
Run4Water also takes about four or five trips a year, globally, to places like Nicaragua, Haiti to drill and repair wells.
“I believe volunteering is the greatest way to represent Christ,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong was nominated in 2014 as a Wilson County Governor’s Volunteer Star and went on to represent Wilson County at the state awards.
“It was an honor to be recognized,” he said.
Wilson County is currently accepting nominations for the 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Star Awards, and there’s an easy way to nominate a worthy local volunteer.
The annual award recognizes “outstanding volunteers from each of Tennessee’s 95 counties,” according to the Volunteer Tennessee website.
“We know the value of calling attention to someone’s service and sacrifice; the military does this extremely well, but even in the military, someone has to submit the proper paperwork in order to recognize that special someone,” said Wilson County committee member John McMillin. “Honestly, nominating someone for outstanding volunteer service isn’t a lot of work to reward someone’s dedication, hard work and creativity.”
Nominations for youth and adults may be made. Nominations for Wilson County honorees will be accepted through Dec. 15. At that time, a committee will go through the nominees and select one youth and one adult to send on to the state level, but all of the nominees will be honored locally.
“The deadline to get them in to the state is Dec. 30,” McMillin said.
McMillin, who is executive director of United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland, said, “from my standpoint I’m thankful for a volunteer no matter what level.
“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with volunteers in this county who are simply amazing. I’m happy to be working with the county mayor and our local Volunteer Stars award committee to search these people out and be able to give some recognition where it is truly deserved.”
Anyone can nominate someone for a Governor’s Volunteer Star Award. Nomination forms may be picked up and dropped off at various sites, including the United Way office, the county mayor’s office, the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce office, the Watertown Public Library and at The Lebanon Democrat office. Again this year, nominations may be made online at lebanondemocrat.com/gvsa.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to nominate volunteers for this deserving honor in Wilson County,” McMillin said.
The Wilson County awards ceremony will be in January where all of the local nominees will be honored.
Participating counties, including Wilson, will name one outstanding youth and one outstanding adult volunteer. Those named a 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Star will gather in Franklin in February to be honored and celebrate volunteerism in Tennessee.